How to Be True to Yourself As a Writer
Writers tend to simply write without much conscious forethought. Many of us are not even conscious why we write what we write or why we focus on what we focus on in our writing career.
Somehow writers just haphazardly decide what to write about and then they start writing. But as we go along, we tend to abandon the project because our interest vanes and we become bored with the whole endeavour.
To be most productive, I believe that our values must lead the way for our writing. That way we could be true to ourselves and to our readers. But what is more, we will also be very successful and productive because when we work on things we truly love and that truly resonates with us, we will be motivated to write the manuscript until it is done.
But what is more, we will want to share our manuscript with the world, because we will believe that what we are writing about is truly something that others want to know about. So, there will not be any lost manuscripts that we file away that will never see the light of day.
If you would like this wonderful feeling of self-confidence and contentment to be yours in your writing career, you have to make sure that you write from your values and deeply held beliefs.
But how do you do that?
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Be true to yourself
Many writers have a hard time to be true to themselves. This may be because there is so much out there bombarding for our attention. We want to please other writers, publishers, friends, editors, and so on.
So, your mind is moved into so many different directions. How do you know for sure which is YOUR OWN direction?
Being true to yourself means living and writing according to your values. The difficulty with doing this is that most of us don’t even know what our values are. We think we do but we never really sit down and do a self-exploration that is true and authentic.
Instead, we just proceed on the basis of surface values that we have emulated from others in some way.
It seems easier to do that than to really try to zero in on what we would like to write about and value so much that we will be propelled to come and write every day.
So, what are you doing now that you know without question is right for you? Are you writing about topics that you truly care about? Are you passionate about what you are writing about?
If you answered these questions in the negative, maybe it is time to do an honest self-assessment of your values and what matters most to you.
2. Determine what your beliefs and values truly are
For most writers, our beliefs and values are hidden. We may want to hide from them because we are ashamed of some of our values or at least we don’t want to make them prominent to others.
What we have to realize before we start is that there are parts of each of our psyches that we want to hide. That is a given. But that doesn’t mean that you have to hide from it though.
One sure fire way to determine what your values are is by taking a self-inventory.
Here are the questions to ask yourself:
– What are your beliefs?
– What do you value?
– What do you like the most?
– What do you hate the most?
– What are your hobbies?
– What makes you cry?
– What makes you angry?
– What makes you ecstatic?
– What do you cherish?
– What makes you cringe?
– What inspires you to be your best?
By honestly answering these questions in your success journal, you will be doing a self-examination of your beliefs and values and what you hold dear.
Then once you determine what your beliefs and values are, write from them to be your best and most authentic.
Translating Thoughts Into Writing
Writing is not just about stringing words into syntactically acceptable sentences, but is basically about turning words into the carriers of ideas, and this might be a tricky thing to say or do because words are not empty of meaning. They carry meaning and some of them actually carry fully formed concepts, like, say, liberty or freedom or feminism. These are not just words. They are big ideas developed over time by several thinkers and writers.
When we put words together, we basically put together ideas to convey a more complex idea, which is made of several component ideas, which is why writing is just as complicated a process as thinking is, the only difference being that thinking happens inside our minds invisibly whereas writing appears on paper or on your computer screen as you write or type. When one’s thoughts translated into words and take shape one word at a time, things start getting complicated because it’s not always that the sentences carry the meaning that you intended to convey when you began putting the words together. Sometimes one ends up saying less than what one intended and sometimes more and sometimes says things that he never really intended to speak out aloud. So, writing is about controlled communication because one cannot throw at the world all the mental noise one carries around in one’s head.
Writing, in that sense, becomes a process of pruning the thoughts before putting them into words so that people read only the most relevant parts of your endless train of thoughts. After all, there are so many of your thoughts that might be absolutely worthless to anyone except you, and sometimes even to you after a short while.
Next time you put pen to paper, or the next time you start typing out, make sure that you do have something to say. Once you are sure of that, you must proceed to put it in the most clear words possible so that your intellectually intricate material is easy on the eyes and easier on the mind, failing which the article might get trashed by the reader, and you might fall in the category of those writers who need to be kept clear for one’s own sanity.
Writing doesn’t come easy just like clear thinking doesn’t. Writing is a delicate craft only and only because it is not as much about what you say as it is about what you leave unsaid or implied.